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Mitigation Agreements For Directly Affected Partie

Media release, Wednesday 23 July 2003

Mitigation Agreements For Directly Affected Parties

Meridian Energy has reached a significant milestone in the Project Aqua mitigation process. Formal Mitigation Agreements will be provided to Directly Affected Parties for consideration from the end of this month.

Project Aqua is a proposed hydro-electricity scheme with a 60-kilometre canal, six hydro power stations, two outfalls and new HV transmission lines. It would run along the south side of the lower Waitaki Valley, from an intake at Kurow to an outfall six kilometres from the coast. Applications for approvals under the Resource Management Act were lodged on 14 May 2003.

Mitigation means to lessen or reduce any adverse effects. The Resource Management Act requires a consent applicant, in this case, Meridian Energy to avoid, remedy or mitigate as far as practicable any adverse effects of its proposed activities. Meridian Energy is committed to meeting this requirement and has been widely consulting and taking independent specialist and expert advice to mitigate the adverse effects of the proposal while providing other benefits such as enhanced recreational facilities.

Mitigation Agreements will set out the understanding between Meridian Energy and Directly Affected Parties about how the effects of Project Aqua will be addressed should the scheme proceed.

“This is a major step in the formal process and many of these Directly Affected Parties have indicated that they want to finalise their Mitigation Agreement as soon as possible and for that reason, Meridian Energy has significantly increased the Mitigation Team to support this stage of the process,” says Meridian Energy spokesperson, Alan Seay.

“Meridian Energy has organised a series of neighbourhood briefings for Directly Affected Parties later this month to explain the key elements of the Mitigation Agreements, what they mean to the Directly Affected Parties and the process from here. Mitigation Personal Managers will then meet with individual Directly Affected Parties to present their Mitigation Agreement and discuss their individual situation.”

“From a logistics point of view, we believe that neighbourhood briefings followed up by individual meetings is the most effective way of achieving this over a reasonable period of time. We are briefing those who live closest to the proposed construction site first and then moving outwards over the next few weeks. We will also be talking further with Directly Affected Parties who own commercial properties or businesses.”

“Meridian Energy believes that formal Mitigation Agreements will provide certainty for Directly Affected Parties and relieve some of the anxiousness that some people are feeling. Mitigation is a priority for Meridian Energy and we want to get it right,” concluded Alan Seay.

ENDS

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